New garden prep and tilling
Hi guys and gals,
I am going to cultivate a 30 X 100 foot area next year for my family and two or three other families and am looking for some tips. I have gardened in raised-beds in my backyard for the last five years, but with the new area, I'll be using the row method. I thought you guys would be the best people to ask since most of you probably garden or farm with rows. What row width would you recommend and how high would your raise each row? What about spacing between rows? I have noticed some people recommend 30 inches for row width with a couple feet between rows. Do you vary the width of the rows depending on what crops will be planted? How many rows would you put in a 30 foot wide area? I am going to use T-tape for irrigation so I guess one run of T-tape for each row bed? Also what type of T-tape(flow rate) would you recommend.
I plan on lightly tilling the area when the soil is at the right moisture, but how deep should I til, 1 foot? After tilling and when making the rows I'll add lots of compost and aged horse manure to the beds along with pelleted organic fertilizer, green sand, lava sand and maybe some blood meal for additional nitrogen. Then I'll mulch in between the rows using grass clippings, leaves, hay, etc. I hope to just lightly tickle in compost or horse manure each season and pull the mulch from between the rows and add new mulch. I also plan on experimenting with cover crops and using row covers to extend seasons.
The gentleman that is letting me use his land said that he would plow up the area with his tractor, but I'm afraid a big tractor might dig too deeply into the soil ruining the tilth. Maybe a tiller might be best?. By the way, my soil is alkaline, black gumbo Texas clay. I have gardened in this type of soil for a few years, but mainly with raised beds filled with purchased soil mixtures. Our native soil is rich, but also thick and poor draining.
One more thing, this Fall I may grow in half of this area, which would mean preparing the soil soon and planting the other half with a frost-kill cover crop. If the cover crop was killed and incorporated in December would the area be ready for planting in late March?
Thanks in advance,